Pediatric Anxiety Research Center Moves to Bradley Hospital Campus, Expands Treatment Options for Children and Teens with Anxiety Disorders

June 22, 2016

Bradley Hospital’s Pediatric Anxiety Research Center (PARC) has relocated its clinical and research services to the hospital’s main campus in East Providence. The move unifies and expands its pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety treatment programs, leading research and education/training in one central location. PARC’s services – previously located at the Coro West Building – are offered in Bradley’s newly expanded outpatient building in a patient- and family-centered environment optimized for milieu-based therapy. 

PARC treats children ages five to 18 who experience significant impairment in their daily lives due to anxiety and obsessive-compulsive (OC) spectrum disorders. It is home to the Intensive Program for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, one of many nationally-recognized programs that brings families to Bradley Hospital. PARC is led by a team of child behavioral experts who specialize in the assessment and treatment of OCD and anxiety disorders, including social anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, illness anxiety and OC spectrum disorders, such as Tourette syndrome, tic disorders, body dysmorphic disorder , skin-picking, and trichotillomania (hair-pulling).

“Centralizing our services in one convenient, modern facility allows us to easily access the latest treatment options and various levels of care to help children with complex anxiety disorders,” said Jennifer Freeman, PhD, director of research and training. Freeman leads the program with Abbe Garcia, PhD, clinical director, and Brady Case, MD, medical director.

PARC is a nationally recognized, leading research group in pediatric OCD and anxiety, continually receiving National Institute of Mental Health research funding since 1998. The center focuses on developing and evaluating treatment protocols; improving understanding of psychological and biological factors in pediatric OCD, anxiety, and tic disorders; and training providers in the community to deliver evidence-based treatment. PARC was one of three sites in the U.S. for the Pediatric OCD Treatment Studies, the largest federally-funded treatment outcome studies for youth with OCD.

“Approximately one in eight children is affected by an anxiety disorder, which if left untreated can lead to school avoidance, withdrawal from family and friends, loss of interest in activities, substance abuse and problems eating and sleeping,” Freeman added.

PARC’s patients benefit from the center’s research by receiving the latest, proven treatments and therapies. Patients with OCD or anxiety participate in exposure and response prevention (ERP), a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) proven to be the most effective form of treatment for anxiety.

The move to Bradley’s campus and expansion of PARC’s services enabled the program to grow its research opportunities and clinical services for children and adolescents with tics – sudden, uncontrollable body sounds or movements. Tics occur in approximately one out of five school-age children and may persist into adolescence and adulthood. Tic Talk is PARC’s 8-week group program that utilizes Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT), a research-based therapy aimed to help reduce tics and improve overall functioning for youth.

For more information about PARC’s clinical and research services, please visit bradleyhospital.org/PARC/.